Turning Tax Return Challenges into Opportunities

March 28, 2024by Jon Dockery0

This is a busy time of year in the tax and financial planning world. With the deadlines of taxes looming, my schedule fills up fast with a constant stream of high school baseball games. Between tax season and sports commitments, there’s barely a spare moment from February to April 15th. Many people can relate to this busy lifestyle, which can sometimes lead to missed opportunities.

In our tax practice, we encounter challenges that can affect tax return preparation. However, what poses a challenge for us can present opportunities for clients to save taxes or plan effectively. It’s crucial to stay informed and seize these opportunities when they arise.












Below are some key items to consider annually:

  • ROTH/SEP/Traditional IRA Contributions – Clients often forget to tell us if they’ve made contributions to their various IRA accounts. We then have to follow-up to see if these were made and make sure we don’t miss any applicable deductions. If you are not taking advantage of saving through one of these accounts, we need to have a conversation to get you on track to potentially save taxes today and start building your retirement nest egg.
  • 401K accounts –A 401(k) plan is one of the most powerful tools for building long-term financial security and achieving your retirement objectives. During tax preparation we often realize that clients have not fully utilized the opportunities provided by these accounts for current year tax savings, free money from employer matching contributions, the high contribution limits and ease of deduction directly from your paycheck. If you don’t know if you are doing what you should with your 401k, we need to analyze your situation and financial ability to contribute more.
  • HSA Contributions and Distributions– Another item that taxpayers forget about regularly is the opportunity to contribute to an HSA account. If you qualify, HSA contributions can be a great way to get a tax deduction and save dollars for future health care costs. They are often referred to as being triple tax advantaged as contributions are tax-deductible, earnings grow tax-free, and withdrawals for qualified medical expenses are tax-free. Do you know if you could be taking advantage of these plans? (For more reading on HSAs, click here)
  • Required Minimum Distributions- RMDs can sneak up on you. You can spend most of your life accumulating in retirement plans, and then suddenly one day you have to start taking distributions from the account. These distributions can also come when you inherit a retirement account from a relative, and these rules are even more complicated. These are some of the most missed items that we see in clients that transfer to us. The IRS imposes hefty penalties for not taking these distributions, so you likely need help making sure you meet their requirements. If you are uncertain about your situation, we can help.
  • Deductible expenses –This is probably the most common question that I get every year: “What expenses can I deduct?” If you are asking that when preparing taxes, you may already be too late. Most of the expenses must be tracked in a specific way and occur during the calendar year for which we are filing the return. If you don’t know what to deduct or how to accumulate those costs, we need to discuss your plan going forward.

As we approach the end of the first quarter of the 2024 tax year, it’s crucial to stay proactive. If you struggle with proactive planning, let’s schedule a meeting to explore how our team can assist you.

Jon Dockery

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